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Lebanon Protests

The Hezbollah terrorist group has been leading demonstrations against the government of Lebanese Prime Minister Fouad Siniora. State Department deputy spokesman Tom Casey says that the U.S. is concerned "that Hezbollah and its allies with support from Syria and the Iranian government are continuing to work to destabilize Lebanon":

"The demonstrations. . . .are aimed at toppling Lebanon's legitimate and democratically elected government. And certainly threats of intimidation or violence isn't something that I think anyone would consider democratic or a constitutional mechanism for changing government."

The U.S., says Mr. Casey, is "committed to supporting Lebanon's democratic it rebuilds and establishes Lebanon's sovereignty":

"What we want to see is things proceed in a way that is peaceful, that is democratic and that doesn't resort to threats of intimidation or threats of violence. And certainly with things like the assassination of Pierre Gemayel and other kinds of events, it's clear that there is a pattern of intimidation and efforts at intimidation of those forces aligned with Lebanon's democratically elected government."

In November, Mr. Gemayel, Lebanon's industry minister, was shot and killed in his car in Jdeideh, the neighborhood in northern Beirut he represented in the Lebanese parliament. A member of the Phalange, a Maronite Christian party, Mr. Gemayel was a longtime opponent of Syrian intervention in Lebanese affairs.

"All of the friends of Lebanon around the world," says Nicholas Burns, U.S. Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs, "want to see unity in Lebanon. We want to see the Lebanese enjoy peace and security and stability, and we want to see the Lebanese government be respected." Mr. Burns says "Prime Minister Siniora is fully respected by all of the world leaders. He has earned that respect by the way that he has acquitted himself in office. And frankly," Mr. Burns says, "there is little respect for those who would say that the way forward in Lebanon is through violence or intimidation."

The preceding was an editorial reflecting the views of the United States Government.